A quick overview of the video production process

Lish Morgan

Video Production is one of those hard to master but cool to know talents. Becoming a master video producer is something that often takes years, but being at the top of your game means you might on some impressive projects, or even end up here at Simply Thrilled with the rest of us highly talented individuals ;-)

But we know patience is a rare virtue nowadays, who wants to learn videography for years when you could simply read this and leave with some revitalising knowledge? 

For the sake of this article, lets boil videography down to the core sections; pre-production, production and post-production- repetitive I know.

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Sort out your Objectives

Objectives need to be solidified, because good objectives equal good videos. Using SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) will give you that direct focus that will inform all of your ideas. Keeping your objectives concise and front of mind are key to achieving what you want, because really you don’t wanna go to the effort of video production if you don’t completely understand why you’re doing it.

Know your audience reaaally well

Audience research time! Pinpointing the people you’re tryna connect with, understanding how they work and how to best engage them will set you off to a flying start. Making a video for corporate, middle aged men but filling your video with thumping EDM and strobe lights won’t be the best idea, I’m sure there are a few middle aged corporates who love that sort of thing BUT you get my drift. The point is understanding your audience and moulding the message to cater specifically to that group is seriously vital.

Get to grips with kit

Video Production is made up of three vital parts. But before we get into that interesting stuff video production is essential more than just pressing the record button on your video camera, it includes sooooo much more. The process of creating a video from concept to completion is an increasingly complicated process with use of a lot of technology, but it is fun! These three phases consist of pre-production, production (Filming) and postproduction.

What do I need for video Production?

  1. Camera – which can be anything, lower end video productions sometimes use a DSLR like the Canon EOS M50
  2. High Portable Camera – Like the Canon XA11 or Sony DSCW800/B
  3. Tripod -  Mactrem PT55
  4. External Microphone – RodeVideo Mic Pro
  5. Lighting - large cloth boxes that cover bright bulbs to give you a soft fill light and a 5 in 1 reflector.
  6. Gimbal – Roxant Pro
  7. Editing/ Production software – Like Premiere Pro
  8. Audio gear like Lavalier Light -  Saramonic SR-WM4C
  9. Video Editing hardware – Like a trusty Windows PC or Macbook. 
  10. Transcription software, we swear by Rev dot com.


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Pre-Production

Planning, as in most things, is essential for good videography. A keen videographer understands that good pre-production is really is gonna set the scene- pun intended- for how well your video or film turns out.

Think about what you want to achieve. This stage is when ideas are brought together into a cohesive plan and the goals and objectives of your video are established. The key to a successful production phase is organisation! That means going in-depth on stuff like storyboards, scripts, schematics and pre-vis as you can. The more planning the more seamless the production and postproduction stage of the process will be.

The pre-production checklist is pretty extensive, but respecting this process is gonna make your creation leaps and bounds ahead of anything that rushes this bit:

  • Finalise the concept, (obviously a key step). Consider the main plot points and the overriding structure and ultimately the message you’re tryna get across
  • Concept treatment. This is typically a 1-3 page document that covers the summary of the film from start to end.
  • Outline. This is where you start building in your specific scene ideas and can shuffle your scene structures around until you reach total satisfaction, (we recommend index cards or post it notes for this)
  • Screenwriting. This is like the shiny, official version of all those steps above. You’ll probably rewrite this a couple times, but trust the process.
  • Script breakdown. Okay so what props, locations and effects are you gonna want at which points to really make an impact, just look to The Shining with that iconic axe and door combination
  • Storyboard. Literally a concise breakdown of each scene that considers the character placement, framing and lighting alongside other specifics
  • Budgeting/Finance. Or the reality check as some call it. There’s a myriad of options to secure funding and of course with enough passion you can stick to a tight budget, but either way it’s a vital step.
  • Scouts. All your locations and your technology? You’ll want to scout for that and you’ll want to consider all the finer details to ensure your selections are worthy of your idea.
  • Scheduling. This is for the organisers out there; a day by day run down of what is getting done
  • Casting. Finally your character which has, up until now, only existed in scribbled post it notes and storyboards can be realised.
  • Set and Costume designs. The final details that will bring your idea into fruition, well nearly…we still have a couple more stages.
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Production

Pretty self-explanatory, but this is where you will produce, film and work on your idea until after maybe days, months, or years you finish filming that final scene and can pop open a couple bottles. 

The literal production phase is the part of the process that is gonna be informed by your unique pre-production plans, so there really isn’t much to say here except…

Ensuring your pre-production is water tight sets you up for a production phase that is more smooth sailing. It’s normal to hit a few road bumps, you might reshuffle a couple elements and re-jig a few details, but stay committed to the vision and it’ll all work out.

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Post-Production

Post-production is where all the complex software takes the spotlight and your precious footage gets ruthlessly edited down  into your finished video or film. 

Similar to post-production it’s gonna be a fairly lengthy checklist to ensure the quality remains high and your initial vision is done justice:

  • Editing. So pretty much deciding what shots remain and what shots are abandoned. Remain crystal clear and what you want your story to be and this should be a cathartic process.
  • Audio. How you attain your audio will differ depending on if you’re working with animation or live-action. But either way make sure your audio is strong and uplifts your video. Consider music, voice overs and sound effects here.
  • Branding. You made this video so you wanna get your credit, don’t go overboard but ensure you add in the necessary logos, credits, and contact information if this is a corporate piece.
  • Call To Action. This refers back to the kind of video you’re producing, but ending with a solid call to action is very vital. After people watch this do you want them to buy, sign up, donate, share? Don’t underestimate the persuasive power of film…
  • Legal. Triple check what you’ve created is legal upholding and won’t face any obstructions upon release.
  • Quality Checks. You’re just about at the end now. Share it around a bit internally with your team, think of it as a visual proofread. Is the video engaging, is the message clear, have you achieved what you wanted?
  • Formatting. So assuming everything has been triple checked, ticked off and considered it’s time to package it up and get it ready for whichever platform it’ll be shared on or through. 
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Analyse, Analyse, Analyse

Now that your video is out and public your job is not finished. To really finish the job you need to understand how it was perceived, why it was perceived that way, where you hit the mark and where you missed it. Remember those objectives at the start? Well, have you achieved them? Did you get an increase in sales, in brand awareness, in audience? Whatever your unique targets were, now is the time to analyse. Beyond this diving into your video engagement will provide you with further rich data  about your audience and gives you insight into how you might better reach them in future.





Lish Morgan
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